Lifestyle changes can’t cure OA. However, they can help to:
Manage discomfort caused by OA
Improve mobility and decrease disability
Slow future damage to joints
Lifestyle recommendations include:
Reach or Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight can help:
Improve symptoms caused by OA
Slow OA from getting worse
Reduce OA injury in other joints
Excess weight puts extra stress on your joints. If you are overweight, talk to your doctor or a dietitian. They can help find you find options that may work for you.
Joint pain may make you less likely to be physically active. However, not moving can make the joints worse. Regular activity can help your joints move better and decrease stiffness. It can also decrease pain.
One important factor is strength. Strong muscles can decrease wear and tear on the joint. It also helps to absorb impact. This can protect the joint surfaces.
Exercise programs can be tailored to your needs. There are many options to work around sore joints. An exercise physiologist or physical therapist can help to design an effective program.
Mood changes can happen. It is most common within the first few months of a new diagnosis. It may also occur during periods of intense symptoms. Depression can make your symptoms worse. Call your doctor if you have more than 2 weeks of sadness, hopelessness, or have a loss of interest in your favorite things.
ACR issues recommendations on therapies for osteoarthritis of the hand, hip, and knee. Am Fam Physician. 2013;87(7):515-516.
Cadmus L, Patrick MB, et al. Community-based aquatic exercise and quality of life in persons with osteoarthritis.
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